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Shaw ensures safety with installation of new emergency arresting systems

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C.-- Airmen from the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron power production flight installed new emergency arresting systems on the flightline at Shaw Air Force Base Dec. 3 through 5.

The Barrier Arresting Kit-12 rotary friction brake aircraft arresting system used at Shaw AFB is replaced every 10 years to help maintain aircraft and pilot safety in the event of an in-air emergency.

“These systems have a shelf life of 10 years, and must be replaced before any flying can be undergone on its respective part of the flightline,” said Senior Airman Garland Moore, 20th CES power production technician.

If a pilot is unable to engage a jet’s landing gear due to damage or malfunction, a hook can be deployed from the aircraft serving as a support grapple. When the hook meets a raised metal cable on the runway, the BAK-12 arresting system acts as a shock absorber, capable of supplying the 65 million pounds of force needed to tighten the cable and safely halt aircraft such as the F-16CM Fighting Falcon and F-15E Strike Eagle.

With the system in place, the 79 F-16CM Fighting Falcons assigned to Shaw can take to the skies with the assurance of a safety net should an emergency arise.

“Changing these systems helps ensure they are maintained and good to go,” said Senior Airman Jacob Smith, 20th CES power production technician. “Although they are replaced every 10 years, daily maintenance is undertaken to make sure they are ready to be utilized should an emergency arise.”

Upon replacement of the arresting systems, BAK-12s must be recertified and meet all safety standards before take-offs and landings can be made on the runway.

Just as aircraft maintenance must be done on a regular basis, maintenance must also be done on the systems that protect the aircraft should an in-air emergency or troubled take-off occur. Daily pressure readings, oil checks and engine tests maintain the BAK-12 systems, so they can be used at a moment’s notice.